'Stay out of it,' says Legault to federal leaders talking Bill 21
CTV News Montreal
Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019 12:48PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 12, 2019 8:14PM EDT
Federal party leaders spoke on Day 1 of the election campaign about their positions on the ban on religious symbols – and Quebec Premier Francois Legault had a message for them: stay out of it.
"My position is clear. If you talk about Bill 21, it's a decision of the National Assembly, and I'm asking all federal parties to make sure and to assure the population of Quebec that they won't participate in any suit against Bill 21," he said. "I want them to stay out of it forever – not only for the moment, but forever."
Bill 21 was one of the first questions journalists asked Liberal leader Justin Trudeau at his campaign launch Wednesday morning in Ottawa.
"As I said many times I am deeply opposed to Bill 21 in Quebec," Trudeau said. "I don't think that in a free society we should be legitimizing or allowing discrimination against anyone.
Trudeau, though, said he has no plans – at least for now – to get involved. He said, though, that he's pleased Quebecers themselves are contesting the bill.
"I’m very pleased that Quebecers themselves have chosen to contest this bill in court to stand up and defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I have been watching very closely the process of considering the federal potential actions. And at this time I feel it would be counterproductive for the federal government to engage in this process."
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer was also asked about Bill 21, which bars many public-service workers from wearing or displaying religious symbols while on duty.
“I’ve made my views of Bill 21 known," Scheer said in Ottawa Wednesday morning, before heading for his official campaign launch in Quebec. "It’s not something that our party would ever consider at the federal level. We will always stand up for the rights of Canadians, and the rights for expression and the rights of freedom of religion."